Our Commissioners, across the country have been busier than usual this week talking with community and people living with mental ill-health, their friends, family and supporters as part of Mental Health Week.
Today marks World Mental Health Day, Saturday 10 October 2015. The focus in Australia is Mental Health Begins with Me! Many events have occurred this week to promote social and emotional wellbeing in the community, encourage people to maximise their health potential, enhance the coping capacity of communities, families, individuals and increase mental health recovery.
The National Mental Health Commission acknowledges the huge contribution from the mental health sector and all those affected by and supporting mental health in promoting mental health and social and emotional wellbeing in Australia. It is this outstanding, effort, commitment and input that make the Commission’s work possible.
Commissioner Jackie Crowe speaking with the ABC this week said “Awareness raising over the past five years has been incredible, the support mental health has got is terrific – actioning is what we need now.”
Our review of the mental health programmes and services – Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities delivered to Government last year provides recommendations to fix the system. It highlights that mental health is not just an issue for governments. It touches every industry, every workplace, the vast majority of families and is everyone’s responsibility. The review calls for the system to be realigned from a focus on service providers, to a focus on people, where those with lived experience, their families and support people are engaged and involved at all levels —“nothing about us without us”.
Nearly one in two people will experience mental ill-health in their lifetime. We need to ensure that all Australians can live contributing lives, that support and are supported by thriving communities. “People live in families and they live in communities - community is our best asset,” said Commissioner Crowe. It is through the power of communities, providing local services that meet the needs of local people who are engaged and involved in decision making that we can work collectively to make change happen.
There is immense scope to significantly improve the lives of millions of Australians. Genuine partnerships, investing in prevention, early intervention and recovery services that are person-centred are key to improving mental health and preventing suicide.